Islam

Islam

Each week I write a weekly column trying to capture and replay a tiny bit of the incredible conversations and efforts taking place behind the scenes at On Being. Sometimes it's a listener's response on our Facebook page or a gorgeous photo on Instagram, but it's often intriguing. If you'd like to receive my column in your email inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

Forty years ago Americans were stunned by images of North Vietnamese tanks rolling into the heart of Saigon. The Vietnam War had bitterly divided the nation and cost 58,220 American lives. Responding to American public opinion, then President Gerald R. Ford declined to intervene — a tacit admission of defeat.

For one of my classes I’m reading On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius of Alexandria. It’s interesting: contemporary with the Council of Nicaea it can be read as a kind of Christian manifesto on the meaning and purpose of the god-man, Jesus Christ.

As a convert to Islam, the discussion is personally relevant. It is in section 54 of this very book that I meet, once again, the epigram:

I love this photo.

It's relatable. It's humanizing. It's neighborhood. The photographer has captured an image with layers of meaning and connectedness.

At first glance, one's eye is drawn to hijab and hands. It's what we Americans have been trained to do — to look for the extreme, the other, the different, the enemy training their children to be Islamic fundamentalists. This lens, even for an editor and producer who spends most of his days breaking through the stereotypes to discover the humanity in the other, is difficult to shatter.

With his "heart full to bursting," our lyrical friend and poet Yahia Lababidi sent me this short poem in response to the events happening in his native homeland of Egypt:

The most populous Muslim country in the world offers a lens into the complexity of sharia and why compassion may be at the core of its implementation.

Talking with your pre-teen son or daughter can be difficult enough, says Naazish YarKhan, without adding terrorism and its misguided association with Islam to the mix.

Glenn Greewald's calling out of Sam Harris' speech as anti-Muslim rhetoric sparked quite a debate. Is Mr. Harris a new form of atheism an old form of colonialism?

On this Mother's Day weekend, a time to celebrate the women in our lives and be real about parenting. Along with art on happiness, brainstorming reactions, and emerging forms of spirituality in Ireland.

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